A Wildlife Photographer Spent 3 Days in a Cage to Snap This Great White Shark

Great white shark
Brice Weaver

Brice Weaver was determined to get close to a great white shark. The San Diego–based nature and wildlife photographer had become entranced by the ferocious predators as a child when he saw an exhibit at the Smithsonian on the megalodon—a distant cousin of the modern great white that grew up to 50 feet long and went extinct some 2.6 million years ago.

Great whites are, of course, nothing to sneeze at, either: The largest predatory fish on Earth, they can grow 20 feet long, weigh more than 5,000 pounds, and reach speeds up to 35 miles per hour as they pursue prey. Decades after Weaver’s Smithsonian visit, he got his chance to see the sharks in action.

It was a July day in the pristine waters around Mexico’s Guadalupe Island, 150 miles off the Baja California peninsula, where great whites come to mate. To photograph the animals, Weaver spent six hours a day for three days straight in a steel cage just below the water’s surface.

“I loved it,” he recalls. “I only came up when I was hungry.” All that time underwater allowed him to observe the sharks’ behavior and form a mental image of the ideal photo he hoped to capture—a great white with its mouth open, as a school of mackerel scattered. In the last hour of the trip’s last dive, he got the shot. “When I knew I had it, I was yelling in the water; you just couldn’t hear.”

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